Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles My first guest is a great friend of mine and a colleague, And we have enjoyed "The Good Life" together. But now I suppose I ought to introduce him as the prime minister. Ladies and gentlemen, the right honorable Paul Eddington. ( applause ) Oh Paul, it is nice-- I don't need that. You've changed, Harry. I have, but it was a very quick operation. I recommend it. Is that one of a prime minister's suits? - No, no, this is my own. - Is it really? It's a bit causal for the prime minister. I'd be a bit more formal. If Nigel-- now you're not to worry about this question But I want the truth. If somebody came to you And said, "Please, Paul, just for one year, Please, please would you... Be P.M. of England?" What would your answer be? Oh, I think no, really. I mean, it'd be very tempting. A tempting offer. I find it awfully difficult to resist a challenge But I-- no, I don't think it, no. - No, I'd hate all that. - Would you really? I mean, do you find-- I mean, what I'd like to know-- All that bowing and scraping, I couldn't bear it. And all that power, dreadful. Who do you base James Hacker on? - Me. - Really? Seriously? People sometimes have asked me Do you base it on this minister or that minister? But no, I thought, now there's a person Who's interested in politics, Knows nothing about administration. What would happen if he suddenly found himself in that position? And I think, well that's me, you see? I'm interested in politics but know nothing about administration. I'd have to rely on my civil servants and that sort of thing. He's a lovely character. Do you ever-- Do you get muddled with the character-- With the politics that you believe in and the character? I mean, do ever get to the point when you say "Look, I don't really think we can say this?" No, not really. There is-- On one occasion I felt the author's impartiality Was slipping a tiny little bit When they made a bit of a mock of nuclear-free zones and things like that. Well, I'm a pacifist. I make no secret of the fact that I'm a supporter of C.N.D. And I said to them, "Look, this is going a bit far, isn't it? I don't mind saying this, but it doesn't sound Quite as impartial as you usually are." And they did tone it down a tiny little bit, But on the whole, almost never. No, never do I do anything like that. The program usually isn't about politics. - It's about administration. - Yes it is. Have you ever been tempted to exploit the situations That James Hacker finds himself in at all? In what way do you mean? You mean, people ask me to behave - As if I were Jim Hacker? - Yes, yes. Well no, not really. The funny thing is... The person in the street Whom you'd expect to think of me as a politician-- Do they come up to you and say-- and talk to you As if you are the actual prime minister? No they don't. I rather expected and I quite hoped That they might do so and rush up to me and say, "Look, would you do something about the such and such bill?" But they don't. The people who are really taken in Are the politicians. Really? Didn't you have to go to a rally or something in Australia? - That's right, yes. - And talk as if you were actually a politician? It's rather nice, I get all the fun without any of the responsibility. When I go to a foreign country, they roll out the red carpet And lead me straight to the head of state, you see? - Do they? Do they do that? - Yes. And on this occasion, I was-- I met a whole lot of ministers coming out Of their first cabinet meeting in Canberra. I was introduced by a friend of mine Who said, "You know the minister, don't you?" And one of them said, "What is your portfolio?" Under the impression, I suppose, that I was not just a minister But actually an Australian minister. Wherever I am, I'm a minister. Now, our real prime minister actually likes your show. So she says, and who am I to disbelieve her? Don't ever do it. It would be dangerous. Hasn't she appeared with you Or haven't you appeared with her or something? Wasn't there a skit or something? Yes, the whole thing's got a bit mixed up in most people's memories. - They think she played-- - tell us. They think she actually played a part in one of the episodes. It wasn't like that. I was-- The whole show once was given an award by mrs. Whitehouse. I can't remember why now. I suppose for being the cleanest show on the air. The night before we were going to be given this award, The head of comedy at the BBC rang me up at the theater where I was appearing And said, "You know this award tomorrow, You know mrs. Thatcher wants to present it?" I said, "Yes." "She wants to play a small scene with you." I said, "You must be joking." "No," he said, "I'm on my way to Number 10 now To pick up the scripts and I'll come and talk to you about it after." Of course he said, "You're free to refuse if you want to." - When was this, Paul? - I didn't refuse when it came to it. - When was this? - Yes. About 18 months ago. A couple of years ago. Was she very good? She was excellent. She was wonderful. She was wonderful. Were you nervous at all? She's a bit daunting, isn't she? I was once in the same room with her and I-- Luckily we had an audience who were very eager to laugh. That's all very current. That's what you're doing now and it's absolutely wonderful. And there's a new series coming in now, isn't there? But I want to show you something Which is rather wonderful. It's you, not me. Don't get excited. - It is a wonderful thing. - What are you going to show me? It's a very early clip. ...That fine young gentleman, Pierre Bordeaux. He sings well, Plays the guitar, dances prettily. ( audience laughing ) ... And jolly good company for your old uncle. I know all that, uncle. You don't have to throw him at me. You are a silly fool, Pierre. Pierre, my boy. How are you? I was just saying to Mary here How well you played the guitar. I know how well you play, Pierre, But sometimes you play too often. And the cold, cold English never play at all. Look at master Cox, there. All he does is make love to his apples. ( audience applauding ) What a handsome, wonderful man. That must have been painful. Right in his cox's orange pippin. Now listen, did you enjoy that? 'cause you sounded so beautiful. I was the champion bowman of France in that episode. This was a long long time ago. - 30 years ago. - You didn't have an accent. I had a little. Did you notice the accent? No, I so was taken with the way you looked. I remember that episode particularly Because we-- We used to shoot the bow and arrow a lot in that thing. You would, wouldn't you? And any spare moments we've got hanging around we used to shoot the bow and arrow. We got quite clever at it. I was very good. But, in that particular episode, I hadn't actually picked up a bow and arrow for about six months. For some reason I got the arrow on the wrong side of the bow. Not in that clip you just saw, but in another one. There was a close-up of me doing this And as I shot it, The arrow went "fatoing!" And we took ages to film this bit And the camera crew had gotten dustpan lids And all sorts of things. It took a whole day to do it. The next day I saw the rushes and I thought, "My god, I've got the arrow on the wrong side of the bow." And this was shown all over the world to millions and millions of people. Did you enjoy it? Did you enjoy doing "Robin Hood"? - I had a wonderful time. - Must have been a wonderful thing to do. Used to ride on horseback every day. Before you did "Robin Hood" You started out, somebody told me long ago As a window-dresser in Birmingham. It gets around, doesn't it? - That's right, yes. - Is that true?